With arctic temperatures expected through the week, Christmas Bureau organizers have arranged to rent and heat a second building at the Spokane fairgrounds to shelter people waiting in line.
“We’ve never had it this cold when the bureau is open,” said Catholic Charities director Rob McCann.
Catholic Charities and Volunteers of America operate the bureau in partnership with The Spokesman-Review Christmas Fund, which pays for the toys and food vouchers distributed at the bureau to the area’s poor people.
“I talked with Catholic Charities in Chicago, where the cold is a huge problem,” McCann said. “They have a similar Christmas charity and they’ve had children in line with frostbitten feet and babies lose consciousness from hypothermia. That’s not going to happen here.”
On Monday, the Ag Building, which holds several hundred recipients, was sufficient. Typically, though, the number of people seeking help grows in the final days of operation, which will be Friday and Saturday.
The bureau Monday distributed food vouchers totaling $32,124 to 1,089 families and gave out toys for 1,696 children.
Donations to the Christmas Fund pay for the vouchers and toys. Donations totaling $36,145 boosted the fund to $270,774. More donations are needed if the fund is to reach the goal of $495,000, the amount organizers estimate is needed to pay the bills.
Following are the donors and what they gave:
A note accompanied a generous donation from Northwest Orthopaedic Specialists: “With this $10,000 contribution, the physicians at Northwest Orthopaedic Specialists would like to take this opportunity to express our best wishes to the Spokane community,” wrote its president, Dr. Douglas G. Norquist.
“We appreciate the endeavors of the staff of the Christmas Fund and believe that it represents the true spirit of giving back to those in need. Thank you for inspiring our wonderful community and sharing what we believe makes the holidays most enjoyable,” he wrote.
Northwest Farm Credit Services, of Spokane, gave $7,500. “Northwest Farm Credit Services is very happy to be able to contribute again this year to your very worthwhile fund to help the many families in need at this special time of year. We are very grateful for the business we have enjoyed this year and we want to thank you for the opportunity to give something back to our community. On behalf of our company and all of our employees, please accept this donation,” wrote Jay B. Penick.
An anonymous donor, of Spokane, sent $5,000 and a note: “Thanks for this special job you take on every year. This is a big part of why Spokane is a wonderful place to live.”
Merle Lepouce, of Spokane, donated $2,000.
Charles Haywood, of Spokane, donated $1,000 in memory of Alice Haywood. Larry and Pat Bishop, of Spokane, gave $1,000, as did Thomas Kasson, and an anonymous donor, both of Spokane.
John and Nancy Orchard, of Spokane, donated $750 in memory of Violet Ash and Louise Harsh, “who both loved helping others. We are blessed to be able to help our brothers and sisters in the Lord,” they wrote.
Walker’s Furniture, of Spokane, sent $500 and a note: “This past year has been a rough year for many in our community. We have many families who have been hit hard by these economic times and are in need of a little help this year. We are blessed to live in a city that will stretch out its hand to any in need. This year, let’s all do what we can, small or large, to give those in our community a special Christmas. The joy and hope the season brings is more important this year than in recent times,” wrote Mark Walker.
Terry and Judy Sparrow, of Spokane Valley, donated $500, “with the hope that it will help brighten the holiday season and provide some joy in the lives of those in need during this special time of year.”
Chris and Christine Ashenbrener, of Spokane, sent $400 and a note: “Our wish is to help make Christmas a little brighter for families in the Spokane area, in honor of our children, Trevor, his wife Sarah, Erica and our first beautiful grandchild, Anna Ashenbrener.”
Fran Watson, of Minneapolis, donated $300.
Bill and Patty Houff, of Spokane, donated $250, as did Rehabilitation Associates, also of Spokane. Karl and Carol Speltz, of Spokane, donated $250 in honor of their grandchildren, Matt, Joey, Ben, Jon and Sadie.
Joann Brown, of Spokane Valley, donated $200 – a tradition she has observed since 1954. Sybil Gray, of Medical Lake, gave $200, as did Sam and Janet Whitcomb, of Spokane; and Richard Morris, of Spokane Valley.
A donation of $155.06 was given via PayPal by the Flaherty kids: Meghan (Flaherty) MacOmber and husband Mike, Sean Flaherty and wife Brandy; Brian Flaherty and wife Rebecca, and Shannon Flaherty, in memory of their dad, Mark Flaherty. “He was a wonderful advocate for children and their families. He died 10 years ago on Dec. 12. We celebrate his life by donating to this wonderful opportunity to bring joy to children,” they wrote.
Lisa Love, of Spokane, gave $150, as did an anonymous donor, of Spokane, and an anonymous donor from Edwall, Wash.
Shirley Ann Walters, of Spokane, donated $150 in honor of her husband, Marvin C. Walters.
Gerald Durand, of Spokane, donated $150 in memory of his mother, Mary J. Cummins, “who always tried to give more to those who had less,” Durand wrote.
Bob and Amy Lutz, of Spokane, donated $125.
Desert Hills Bank, of Phoenix, Ariz., sent $120.
Lowell and Shirley Mouser, of Otis Orchards, donated $100, as did David and Rosanne Whitney, of Spokane Valley; Joe and Pam Ridlington, of Mead; Edward and Shirley Bell, David and Evelyn DeFoe, Katherine Chew, Lenore and Bob Romney, and Ann Sanders, all of Spokane; and Gary and Judy Spangelo, of Cheney.
Albert and Jean Pistorius, of Hayden Lake, donated $100, as did Jean Rose, of Nine Mile Falls; an anonymous donor, of Spokane; an anonymous donor, of Liberty Lake; and an anonymous donor, of Spokane Valley.
Virginia Besemer, of Greenacres, donated $100 in memory of Seward Besemer.
An anonymous donor, of Spokane, sent $80.
David and Connie Moody, of Spokane, donated $75, “to make Christmas a little brighter for families in so much need.” An anonymous donor, of Spokane, also gave $75.
Garnet Dana, of Spokane Valley, donated $52.47.
The Sons of Norway Whist Club, of Spokane, donated $50, as did Jim Jones, Donald Gale Jr., the Kowal family, and two anonymous donors, all of Spokane, and an anonymous donor, of Nine Mile Falls.
Nancy Buergel donated $48.25 via PayPal.
Nancy Morris, of Moscow, Idaho, sent $40 in memory of her sister, Arlene Neveux Nilsby, who passed away this year. John and Becky Severinghaus, of Spokane, sent $40 in honor of Roger and Bev Ruhl, and Gerry and Carol Ruhl.
Cyrus McLean, of Spokane, sent $30.
Scott and Carrie Rider, of Spokane Valley, donated $25, as did Joni and Warren Omans, of Otis Orchards; and two anonymous donors, both of Spokane.
Marie Holliday, of Spokane, donated $25 in memory of her husband, Uhel E. Holliday Jr. Gene and Shirley Schatz, of Spokane, donated $25 in memory of their daughter, Karen Schatz Dunning.
T.C., of Spokane, donated $20 in memory of Elizabeth.
An anonymous donor, of Spokane, gave $15.
Dorothy Nilsen, of Spokane, gave $10.
Susan Baker, of Spokane, donated $9.75.